Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Reserves and Mobilization

In the communist era, reserve training programs were inadequate to maintain large numbers of personnel in serviceready condition. In fact, some reservists completed their twentyyear obligation without ever attending training. Regulations limited both total training time and total call-up time of reserve personnel to twenty-four months or less. In 1982 this system had produced 605,000 reservists whose training was labeled as adequate. In the early 1990s, reserve training remained quite spotty.

The new Polish defense system places special emphasis on the mobilization preparation of reserves because of drastic decreases in active-duty forces. In case of military threat or war, an estimated 5 to 6 percent of overall combat forces would come from reserve units. In this context, the training of reserve personnel, especially command, staff, and specialist positions, is much more important than it was under the communist system. According to 1992 policy, which did not vary greatly from communist-era doctrine on the subject, 400,000 to 500,000 reservists would be available for call-up. Reserve units are formed according to geographical location to achieve cohesiveness. In wartime their mission is to delay an enemy force in their area long enough for the regular army to engage. One difficulty with this system is the requirement that individual reservists maintain weapons at home specifically for emergency use, a practice at variance with Polish culture and criticized as introducing firearms into civilian society.

Data as of October 1992